One of the problems many dog owners have is to figure out how to get a dog to stop barking.
Dogs like to bark, its part of the way they communicate.
It is his job by nature to alert you when strangers are around to help keep you safe.
But sometimes, your dog may bark too much and it turns out to be a problem or an annoyance.
You might want to look for a permanent solution to address your pup’s barking behaviour.
Below are some insights into why dog’s bark and a few ideas to try and get the barking to stop.
If these recommendations do not work for your dog after giving them a try, then it may be worth bringing in a professional dog trainer.
Common Reasons Dog’s Bark
Your dog barks beyond what would be considered normal for a couple of reasons.
Your Dog Can Be Territorial
Your dog considers your home, your yard, and you his territory.
When those boundaries are breached, it can trigger excessive barking.
You will notice that his barking will become louder when he gets closer to what he considers a threat.
Your dog will even become more aggressive and alert when he is barking.
Your Dog Can Be Fearful
Some dogs will bark at any little noise or something that catches their attention.
Not only will your dog bark at a noise, but even when he becomes startled.
When your dog barks like this, it can be anywhere, not just where he calls home.
Your Dog Can Be Bored
If you didn’t already know it, dogs are pack animals.
If your dog is left alone for an extended period of time, he can become bored.
Your dog can become sad and lonely as well, and he could bark because he’s unhappy.
It’s how he would express his unhappiness of being left on his own.
Does your dog bark more when you leave the house?
Your Dog Is Just Looking For Attention
Your dog could also bark when he wants something.
It could be because he wants a treat, needs to go outside or wants to play.
Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
Some dogs bark when they are left alone because they have separation anxiety.
They don’t want you to leave and if you do, they will start to bark at every sound or motion.
Your dog might feel more comfortable hearing their own bark, which is why some dogs will bark continually until they tire out or you come back home.
6 Tips To Get A Dog To Stop Barking
Now that you have some reasons for why your dog is barking, now is the time to try different dog training techniques to get them to stop doing it.
Each of the options below are common training techniques that help, but they all take time, consistency, and patience.
There is no overnight trick to get your dog to stop barking.
After all, the behavior is learned and that took time, now we need the time to “unlearn” it.
Remove The Motivation
If you realize your dog is barking at a person, place or thing, then you should remove that variable.
Keeping an eye on your dog and tracking what makes them bark is important to helping find the trigger.
Maybe the neighbors dog comes out the same time as yours?
Maybe there is a rabbit that comes and visits during the day.
Maybe the mailman is the trigger.
All of these can be triggers and to stop the barking we would need to either remove the trigger or divert your dog’s attention elsewhere while the trigger is present.
Ignore The Barking
I know, harder said than done because it is ANNOYING.
Sometimes ignoring them is the best thing you can do.
You can ignore your dog’s barking until he stops.
It means, while he’s barking, you give him no attention whatsoever.
If you pay attention to him while he’s barking, he thinks you are giving him attention, which defeats the whole purpose.
Don’t look at your dog, don’t touch him, don’t talk to him, and don’t acknowledge his existence.
The best way this method works is that you need to wait for your dog to stop barking before you act, no matter how long it takes.
Even if he barks for 45 minutes and you can’t stand it and finally break and tell him to be quiet, he’ll just bark for an hour next time.
Your pup will learn that if he barks long and loud enough, you will give him the attention he wants.
Desensitize Your Dog To The Stimuli
When you want to desensitize your dog to what is overstimulating him, start by going slowly.
Figure out what is the source of what is over stimulating your dog.
Arrange them in the order from what would get the least reaction to the most response.
Begin with the sources that are least likely to get a reaction from your dog.
Figure out ways to make each source less intense for your pup on exposure.
Pair each source of what makes him bark with a positive consequence, such as when a dog walks by, he doesn’t bark, then give him a treat.
You can also train this while the dog is in his crate.
Don’t move to the next one until your dog is anticipating the treat for being quiet.
Teach Your Dog The “Quiet” Command
When you are trying to stop your dog from barking, all yelling does is make your pup think you are joining in.
You always want to be sure to speak firmly and calmly and don’t yell.
What you want to do is to have your dog understand the word “quiet.”
There are one of two ways that you can do this.
One is to say “Quiet” in a firm, calm voice.
You need to wait until your dog stops barking even if it’s a pause, then praise him and give him his favorite treat.
Just be sure to never give him the treat while he’s barking.
Soon your fur baby will figure out that when he stops barking and hears the word “quiet,” he will be rewarded with a treat.
The other way is to teach your dog to “speak,” and when he’s barking on command, you can signal him to stop barking.
Have him stop barking, use the word “quiet,” and put your fingers to your lips.
If you practice with your dog while he’s calm and chilled out, he will soon learn to stop barking when you tell him.
Physical & Mental Exercise
When your dog doesn’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation every day, he may bark excessively.
If you take your dog outside for a half-hour to an hour every morning, it gets rid of excess energy.
An afternoon or evening walk could be beneficial too if your dog tends to need more exercise.
To stimulate your dog mentally, you can give him a treat-dispensing toy to keep him occupied.
That way, your pup will be more interested in getting the treat out of the toy than other distractions, which may make him bark.
Hire A Dog Trainer
Hire a professional if you are having difficulty training your pup.
A good trainer can assist you in finding the best techniques to stop your dog from barking.
They could suggest a dog whistle or an anti-bark collar.
A high-quality professional trainer will work with your dog to sort out the issue and teach you the right way to give commands.
How To Get A Dog To Stop Barking At People?
If your dog barks at people, it can cause undo stress for you and others.
It’s never pleasant to be around a dog that is barking, must less barking at other people or children.
A dog that gets excited at seeing people will also bark, whether out of fear, territorial need or just to alert you to a passing stranger.
There are a few techniques you can try to help deter your dog from barking at people.
- Prevent your dog from interacting with guest who come over to your home, unless if they are already trained to not bark.
- Put your dog in his kennel while guest are visiting.
- Put a leash on your dog to help prevent barking.
Start training your dog to go to a specific place in your home – their mat or specific room when they hear the doorbell ring.
This type of training will take a lot of time and effort, and probably many treats but in the end it can help prevent your dog from barking at people who visit or walk by your home.
The older your dog is the harder it will be to learn not to bark at people.
Some dog breeds are also more prone to barking – I’m looking at you Miniature Schnauzer!
If you walk your dog, be sure they are on a leash.
This will give you more control over the situation, which may include removing your dog completely or going back home if they cannot control their barking.
Lots of treats and praise can help break the habit of barking at people while walking.
Most people will give up or stop trying to train their dog to stop barking at people because it may feel like a losing battle.
Several techniques can be used to desensitize your furry friend to strangers while out walking.
The key is to keep your dog under the threshold of his fight-or-flight response.
The technique of engaging is when you give your dog a high value treat for even looking at the person without a reaction.
Eventually, he will look at you when he sees a person for his reward instead of reacting to the person.
Should I Use A Bark Collar?
There are pros and cons to using bark collars, but at CharityPaws we do not advise using them.
Those who resort to bark collars, usually have tried other methods that didn’t work and just gave up.
Others who use bark collars use them because they work without much effort and they don’t have the time to properly train their dog from barking at people
The collar works by sending a short and quick shock to your dog.
It’s enough discomfort that they will eventually stop barking.
This can create fear in your dog that anytime they bark they might get this shock.
Some collars have different settings where the shock can be stronger or weaker.
On a small dog, it can cause enough pain or shock that they yelp.
We have seen many rescue dogs who have been abused who may have been collared for a long time.
These types of collars are never the answer and a rescue dog that has gone through this experience may show signs of fear and pain with any type of collar.
Think about taking your rescue dog for a walk and they refuse or cower down when you put a collar on them.
These are signs of an abused dog who had a shock collar.
A barking dog can be an annoyance, especially if it’s your dog that’s doing the barking.
I have used a few of these methods over the years and found them to be quite effective.
If you have a dog that barks at people, try some of these methods and see if they work for you and your dog.
If not, you can always bring in a professional dog trainer to get help with training.